the courage to get out there

After I graduated from college in 2003 with a BA in Music, I kept up my practice and performance skills for a while. I got an office job with regular pay and health insurance to support myself and M, who had decided to go to law school. But I kept playing, even auditioning in the fall of 2003 to be a trumpet instructor at a music studio in the Philadelphia suburbs. The owner liked my playing and thought I would be a good addition to the school, if I would just come back after gaining a few more years experience. From there, I played in a few weddings, I played in church a few times, but life got in the way, as it has a habit of doing, and my practicing started to lapse.

After G died, the music went out of my heart. I know that sounds cliche, but that's what happened. I didn't feel like playing anymore and I stopped entirely for a while. At the same time, his death made me feel as though I didn't value life enough. That life is too short to do something that doesn't make you happy. That opportunities, skills, talents and heart's desires should not be ignored. But I still didn't want to play. The very thing that used to be my form of therapy and joy didn't bring me any happiness anymore.

About 6 months ago, I got the itch to start playing again. I wanted to find a group to play with, but first I had to sound halfway decent again. I started practicing on and off, just messing around. But I was so unhappy with how I sounded, I just got frustrated and didn't start a regular practice routine. I thought about taking lessons but put the idea off for some time, feeling unable to justify spending the money on lessons when I know what I need to do to get better again. I just have to do it. That's not enough, though, and I am finally admitting to myself that I need someone to report to every week and someone to push me toward my goals.

On Monday, I started taking trumpet lessons. I am not sure how much I like the teacher, but I signed up for 8 weeks of lessons anyway. At least it will be a push in the right direction, and I can decide after those 8 lessons whether to continue with him or not. It had been more than 5 years since I've had a trumpet lesson.

On Tuesday next week, I am auditioning for the director of a local university's wind ensemble. Though the ensemble includes some community members, he doesn't need trumpet players this semester. I am not sure it will lead anywhere, but I am nervous. I am equal parts excited at the possibility of playing regularly with a group and terrified of making a fool of myself because I have no business being there. I haven't auditioned for anything in almost 5 years.

So, G? This is for you. Remembering your zest for life and how much you would want me to do this, to follow my dreams, that's what will give me the courage to get out there again. To work on my skills and show the world, or even just a few people, what I can do. Thanks for everything you taught me.


EDH said...

What a great post. I am so proud of you! It's wonderful you've allowed this to come back to you naturally. "The music went out of my heart" is the perfect way to describe it. I've always been a musician and I felt the same way after my brother's death. My parents (also musicians) did, too. It's really inexplicable and I think has more to do with the grief process - don't feel that you somehow weren't living life as fully.

G is so proud of you, too. I know it.

Good luck on your audition!

maresi said...

oof. you are inspiring, my dear. I hope you will play with the same kind of joy and discovery G has all over his face in that newspaper photo of him with his euphonium. if you have an extra copy, keep it in your trumpet case or on the music stand. I am so glad you shared this with us.

Thais said...

I am so, so excited that you are going back to your music! I love hearing you play! What about composition:) Am I pushing too much?

Anonymous said...

God bless Gregory!! And Amy!!
Love to you both,

Anonymous said...

Now that I am not crying, I say WOOT WOOT and HUZZAH to you and G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lovepatty

Katherine said...

Apparently, we sisters think alike... I was going to say that whenever you lose the motivation to practice, remember the elation on G's face in that newspaper picture. It's still one of my all-time favorites of him and how it captured his joy so perfectly. Good luck with your lessons and the audition! Let me know how it all goes :)

Elena said...

This post made me misty-eyed, but it also inspired me to get out there and begin singing again. Life is too short to live without music.

I know that you'll get back into the groove, and playing will be even more satisfying than ever, and you'll be honoring G every time you play.

Anonymous said...

awesome! I've been wanting to start playing my clarinet again too. Very inspiring!! I might just go out and buy a reed now, but I'll probably need lessons too. It's been 13 years since I've played you're doing better than me! :)

Anonymous said...

Well I am did the lesson go? How did your audition go?? I can't wait to hear!

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